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Future of Mobile 2007 overview

Here’s the Whatleydude’s overview of the Future of Mobile conference held yesterday in London.


Morning. Whatley here reporting live, or semi live, after the event. I was fortunate enough to attend Carsonified’sFuture of Mobile‘ – which was held at the simply huge BFI IMAX Cinema at Waterloo yesterday.

During the event I kept my notes on Jaiku – this was awesome because not only was I able to quickly capture soundbites and thoughts on the fly but my colleagues, peers and Jaiku buddies were also able to comment… the whole thread can be found here.

I’ve been trying to regurgitate most of the content into some kind of context to make it easier to consume.. but the more I try the more I struggle! So.. I’m just gonna crack on and do my best.

Right then – the schedule (along with more detail re: the speakers) for the day can be found here. And I believe that the slides from the days presentations can be found not far from there too.

Moving on….

First Speaker: Tony Fish – Cool.
I thought of Ewan especially when I heard him say something along the lines of “The assumption of what is available on the web is what is wanted on the mobile web.. utter bollocks…” – Brilliant. Here’s a slide from Tony’s presentation:



The next thing he said that rang true with me is something I truly believe in – which is “The mobile web is NOT an extension of the Internet.” More on this later.

There was a kind of Mobile Web ‘Content Sandwich’ that made up the first part of the day.

So first, the meat of the sandwich: This came in the form of Luca Passani of Admob and Andrea Trasatti of dotMobi talking about how the Mobile Web should be and how they think it should be done… from an industry perspective.

And then – either side of these guys – (the sandwich bread – as it were) – Tony Fish and the ‘Content Panel’ (Prashant of Mippin standing out in particular) talking about how the Mobile Web IS and how it’s being used from a USER perspective. This sandwich method demonstrated – to me at least – how the there are so many different ways of trying to get to the same destination.

Luca Passani of Admob had his rant at Vodafone – Big Wow. NEXT!

Dan Appelquist of Vodafone told us about ‘one web’ (something which I’m still not convinced about – my opinion being that the mobile web and the moving interweb are two completely different creatures and should be treated thusly).

Andreas Trasatti of dotMobi discussed about ‘Best Practices’. I’ve had various conversations about dotMobi and have made no secret of my feelings about (what I see as) the futility of this domain – but… and this is a HUGE but – after having seen this presentation I understand now that it isn’t JUST about having a .mobi address. (I’m a firm believer in the ‘m.’ solution) It’s more about putting in rules and regulations to help make the mobile web a friendlier place for the user in the long term.

As Dan Appelquist explained to me recently, “It’s not the URL destination, it’s what it looks like when you get there.”

Charles McCathieNevile of Opera talked about web browsing and without a doubt, wins the Best Comment of the Day prize with his one liner about widgets: “Yeah, because I need another clock right?”

Brian Fling of Blue Flavour – “The iphone is the first Mobile 2.0 device”. Discuss!

Dave Burke of Google showed us some Android stuff – but I’m not a developer so, alas it made limited sense to me!

One thing that really stood out for me all day was that the conference was very focused on what was happening in mobile today. Whilst that’s useful to many, I, and I think a large majority of the delegates attended to find out more about the future. We were, I think, hoping for some insightful future-gazing viewpoints that didn’t quite materialise.

Tony Fish laid it out in his ‘parting thoughts’ when he commented:

“Don’t forget voice when thinking about mobile”.

A valid reminder when 99.9% of all mobile users use their phones primarily for VOICE. So let’s take Voice and see what we can do with it… *Cough* – SpinVox is Awesome – *cough* πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately the conference was simply far too much about the Mobile Web. In fact, a recurring theme of conversation throughout the ‘networking breaks’ during the day was the fact that the event should’ve been more accurately labelled ‘An Introduction to the mobile web‘ not ‘The Future of Mobile‘.

This takes nothing away from the efforts of the FOM speakers and/or organisers.. it’s just a comment on something that promised so much but didn’t actually deliver. But hey.. the post-conference party was good!

Please leave any questions in the comments field below and I’ll reply accordingly…


– – –

Thanks Whatley!


  1. Yup. I concur. Everyone uses phones for talking, yet in the UK it’s for an average of six minutes a day. Room for growth? That’s the future of mobile. It will be like what you have now, just a whole lot more aware of you, your friends and your plans.It will help you organize your life, save you time, money and stress.

  2. @D – Apparently the Android stuff was *very* exciting to some of the coders/developers in the room (I’m looking around for Dan Lane) but it just didn’t do anything for me… sorry!

    @Mike – Yes mate – I wholeheartedly agree. Just wish the day was more geared towards this kind of thinking..
    (I take it you’re the same Mike I ended up putting the world to rights with in the pub afterwards?!)


  3. Sadly, what you heard *was* the “future of mobile” – it just looks like the present as the industry is so resistant to change ;).

    I think the Google guy said it all when he said Google decided to enter as it did not believe the current players were willing (or capable?) to innovate in the industry.

  4. Good work Whatley, I look forward to more from you on smstextnews. The Android demo was pretty impressive, the presenter developed a web browser in

  5. (note to editor, I used a less than sign in my last comment and it seems to have cut off, hence the repost)

    Good work Whatley, I look forward to more from you on smstextnews. The Android demo was pretty impressive, the presenter developed a web browser in less than 8 minutes (although he was using an api for displaying a web page in a window πŸ˜‰ ), still the important point was that the screen layout was defined in an XML resource file and the logic was in java.

  6. Cheers GeekYouUp.

    Really enjoyed the day all in all – it was great to see some friendly faces and to have a good natter about what’s going on in the industry etc…


  7. HIa – thanks for posting your thoughts. Looks like we had a really mixed crowd of people in attendance and I know that not every session resonated with every single person (but that’s a single track conference on a huge topic for you). It sounds as though some were surprised by the focus on the mobile web – although the schedule and line-up was pretty clear on the FOM site. Overall though we’ve received some great feedback and will definitely be doing the conference again – get in touch f you’d like to suggest improvements or volunteer speaking services πŸ™‚ Cheers

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Good to know that our (my) feedback/thoughts are taken onboard.

    As I said – my comments really aren’t meant to take anything away from the efforts of the organisers (yourselves at Carsonified) – it was a good event.

    I may’ve moaned about the focus but you can guarantee I’ll be first in line when the tickets go on sale for the next one..


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